Cyclist saved by stranger after heart stopped for eight minutes in Ellesmere Port

Steve (left) with Niall who performed CPR and used a defibrillator at a nearby school to resuscitate Steve. Credit: Steve Lyth

A man whose heart stopped for eight minutes has been told he had 1% chance of survival after he was saved by a stranger.

Steve Lyth, aged 61, from Ellesmere Port was resuscitated with a nearby school's defibrillator after collapsing near his home on February 15.Niall Fitzgerald "stumbled" upon the scene and used the defibrillator on Steve - he was then revived and then taken to hospital.

He said it was a "mad event" and that he is "just happy to see him alive".Steve has a history of heart disease - he had problems with atrial fibrillation and suffered two heart attacks before having a quadruple bypass two and a half years ago.He therefore began cycling with friend Dave Bush twice a week in order to improve his fitness. The two were heading out on a ride when Steve's heart failed.

Steve (right) cycles with Dave twice a week. Credit: Steve Lyth

Steve said: "Dave was showing up to mine for our bike ride. We were leaving about an hour earlier than usual.He turned the corner, said 'good morning', I replied and then my brain basically said to me 'you're going'.

"It felt like somebody turning the lights out. Everything switched off."Still on his bike, Steve collapsed. Dave had to take him off it and began performing CPR.As Dave began the process, Niall Fitzgerald was driving past and, after noticing what was going on, got out of his car and headed towards them.Niall performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Steve and three rounds of chest compressions before a defibrillator was brought out from Christ Church CofE Primary School, located just 50 yards from where Steve had collapsed.Three charges from the defibrillator managed to revive Steve, bringing him back around eight minutes after his heart had stopped.

Steve was stabilised by emergency service staff and then taken to Countess of Chester hospital.He was transferred to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in Broadgreen, where he had previously had heart procedures.Steve remained in hospital until February 18, in order to have a dual implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted.

Steve with his wife Gaynor. Credit: Steve Lyth

The incident has come as a shock to the system, but Steve feels very lucky to be alive.Steve added: "Niall was told by the ambulance crew that, because I’ve had my previous bypass, there was a 1% chance of resuscitation."For me to survive, every single piece of that jigsaw - the time, the people, the equipment - it all had to be there in a matter of minutes and it was."Anywhere else and I’m gone, anyone else and I’m gone, without the equipment, I’m gone. Look at it any which way you want, but it is a miracle."Niall said: "I was running later and there was quite heavy traffic, so I decided to go down another route and that’s when I stumbled upon him”"I’ve been doing first aid for 20-odd years and I’d just done a refresher. The stars were aligned that day. It was a mad event and I'm just happy to see him alive."